16.10.2020 Author: Tony Cartalucci

US Seeks to Prolong Terrorism in Syria, Not Defeat It


Recent attacks on Syrian positions from terrorists of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) and the release of thousands of prisoners in US-occupied eastern Syria illustrate how Washington is demonstratably prolonging instability in Syria as part of its promise to transform the nation into a “quagmire” for Russia and Iran.

Newsweek itself, in an article titled, “US Syria Representative Says His Job Is to Make the War a ‘Quagmire’ for Russia,” had admitted earlier this year that:

The US special representative for Syria has urged continued American deployment to the war torn country in order to keep pressure on US enemies and make the conflict a “quagmire” for Russia.

The article further elaborated:

Assad—who now controls the majority of the country—is backed by Russia and Iran, both of which the US is trying to undermine. Jeffrey said Tuesday that the US strategy will both weaken America’s enemies while avoiding costly mission creep.

“This isn’t Afghanistan, this isn’t Vietnam,” he explained. “This isn’t a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”

Toward that end – efforts in US-occupied eastern Syria to properly deal with ISIS prisoners and their family members has been neglected – creating conditions aimed at breeding extremism rather than defusing it. Even the Washington Post – in a recent article titled, “Kurdish-led zone vows to release Syrians from detention camp for ISIS families,” would admit:

Conditions inside al-Hol displacement camp, a sprawl of tents perched in the desert west of Hasakah city, have alarmed humanitarian groups and in some cases aided the radicalization of women and children who spent years under Islamic State rule.

The “release” is depicted by the Western media as lacking planning – however – if the goal of the US is to compound Syria’s crisis rather than help resolve it – releasing thousands of prisoners – many of whom are likely only further radicalized – is the plan.

US media also reported on a major and recent clash between Syrian forces and ISIS militants requiring the use of Russian airpower to repel.

Western headlines like Defense Post’s article, “90 Dead as Syria Govt Forces Clash With IS: Monitor,” claimed:

Clashes in the Syrian Desert between pro-government forces and holdouts of the Islamic State group have killed at least 90 combatants this month, a war monitor said on Wednesday.

Russian aircraft carried out strikes in support of their Syrian regime ally, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The militants are alleged to be based in Syria’s desert regions just west of the Euphrates River. However, in order to sustain ISIS’ fighting capacity in an otherwise desolate region, weapons and supplies need to be continuously brought in.

Since it is unlikely the Syrian government is supplying ISIS fighters determined to kill Syrian troops and move westward toward government-held territory – it is the US and its regional allies supplying them instead.

The combination of the deliberately destructive administration of US-occupied territory in eastern Syria and the continued supply and arming of militants – including those affiliated with ISIS – are clear components of Washington’s strategy of creating a “quagmire” for Syria and its allies in addition to the continued US military occupation itself and ongoing efforts to maintain crippling sanctions aimed at Syria’s economy.

The US has made “quagmires” for Russia in the past. This included its support of militants in Afghanistan through the supply of weapons and training via Pakistan.

The Syrian conflict – since 2011 – has been the result of similar efforts by the US to create, arm, supply, and otherwise back militants attempting to overthrow the government in Damascus. Having failed this primary objective and after having spent whatever credibility the US had upon the international stage – Washington has now moved toward openly obstructing peace and hampering Syria’s recovery from the ongoing conflict – admittedly to spite its international competitors including Russia, Iran, and even China.

When comparing America’s “rules-based international order” with the emerging multipolar world presented by nations like Russia and China as an alternative – it is difficult to believe Washington sees its continued destabilization of nations and even entire regions of the world as a selling point for its world view rather than the primary reason nations around the globe should both oppose it and back desperately needed alternatives to it.

Attempts by Washington to continue depicting itself as a partner for combating global terrorism rather than a source of global terrorism seems to have fully run its course with the US all but admitting its presence in Syria is aimed at prolonging conflict rather than contributing to efforts to end it. This has been repeatedly illustrated by America’s confrontation with Russia in Syria – including a recent incident in which US military vehicles unsuccessfully attempted to block a Russian military patrol.

It was Russia’s 2015 entry into the conflict on Syria’s behalf that decisively turned the tide of the conflict – using its superior airpower to target ISIS and Al Qaeda supply lines leading out of NATO-member Turkey’s territory into Syria, collapsing their respective fighting capacities and allowing Syrian forces to restore order to nearly all major population centers of the country.

Today, remaining hostilities are centered on both Turkish and US-occupied territory inside Syria – the resolution of which will mark the conclusion of the conflict – a conclusion and resulting peace Ankara and Washington appear opposed to.

While Western pundits have argued that a US withdrawal would lead to a resurgence of ISIS – it is clear that ISIS thrives everywhere Syrian forces have been prevented from retaking because of America’s illegal presence inside the country. A US withdrawal would be the first true step toward eliminating ISIS from both Syria and the region.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.